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Nicaragua Information - Page 2
The indigenous people of Nicaragua were conquered by the Spanish in the early sixteenth century.

Spain ruled Nicaragua for almost three centuries. Independence was achieved in 1821. Soon after independence, Nicaragua, along with other Central American countries, was annexed by Mexico. Following the collapse of the union (1823) Nicaragua became a member of UPCA, the United Provinces of Central America. Other members of UPCA were Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Nicaragua became fully independent in 1838.

The USA was interested in Nicaragua as a route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. However, in 1903 the US bought the rights to build the Panama Canal in the Republic of Panama.

In the early twentieth century, the USA provided military assistance to Nicaragua during a civil war; US bases remained in the country between 1912 and 1933.

The election of General Somoza in 1937 saw the beginning of the Somoza family's domination of Nicaraguan politics for over forty years. A civil war, ending in 1979, brought the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to power. Daniel Ortega Saavedra, a Sandinista leader, was president of Nicaragua from 1985 to 1990.

In 1990 the FSLN was defeated in elections by Violeta Chamorro, the first female president of Nicaragua.

Agriculture is an important sector in Nicaragua employing a significant number of the workforce. Agricultural products are beans, coffee, corn, onions, rice, sesame, soya, sugarcane, bananas, melons, cotton, tobacco and dairy products. Livestock is reared. The fishing industry provides lobster and shrimp for export.

Industry accounts for over a quarter of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Major industries include petroleum refining, chemicals, machinery and metal products, timber, footwear, textiles, clothing, food processing and beverages.

Services provides the largest percentage of the GDP, employing over half the working population. Tourism, a growing industry, is a major earner of foreign currency. Remittances sent home by Nicaraguans working in other countries also benefit the economy.

Poetry and music are important in Nicaraguan culture.

Ruben Dario (1867-1916) is Nicaragua' s greatest poet. Azul, a collection of Dario's works, established Ruben Dario as a respected poet throughout the Spanish speaking world. The Ruben Dario National Theatre in Managua is named in honour of the poet.

The marimba, an instrument similar to a xylophone, is the national instrument. The marimba is often accompanied by guitar and drums. As well as traditional music, a variety of musical styles are enjoyed in Nicaragua. Caribbean music has an influence on music along the coast.

Museums include the National Museum of Nicaragua, housed in the National Palace, and the Coffee Museum, situated in Matagalpa, Nicaragua’s main coffee growing area.

Baseball is the most popular sport in Nicaragua. Other team games played are football, basketball and volleyball.

Water sports in Nicaragua include kayaking, swimming, surfing, sailing and fishing.

Christmas and Easter are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day - 1 January, Labour Day - 1 May and Independence Day - 15 September (1821 from Spain).

News from Nicaragua is available from Newslink.

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